Paula Beane owns a restaurant franchise that is part of a chain of “southern homestyle” restaurants. One of the chain’s popular breakfast items is biscuits and gravy. Central Warehouse makes and freezes the biscuit dough, which it then sells to the franchise stores where it is thawed and baked in the individual stores by the cook. Each franchise also has a purchasing agent who orders the biscuits (and other items) based on expected demand. In March 2015, one of the freezers in Central Warehouse breaks down and biscuit production is reduced by 25% for 3 days. During those 3 days, Paula’s franchise runs out of biscuits but demand does not slow down. Paula’s franchise cook, Betty Baker, sends one of the kitchen helpers to the local grocery store to buy refrigerated ready-to-bake biscuits. Although the customers are kept happy, the refrigerated biscuits cost Paula’s franchise three times the cost of the Central Warehouse frozen biscuits, and the franchise loses money on this item for those 3 days. Paula is angry with the purchasing agent for not ordering enough biscuits to avoid running out of stock and with Betty for spending too much money on the replacement biscuits. Who is responsible for the cost of the biscuits? At what level is the cost controllable? Do you agree that Paula should be angry with the purchasing agent? With Betty? Why or why not?
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